Durbin And Krishnamoorthi Announce Bipartisan Bill To Create Youth-Vaping Prevention Programs In Schools

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8) held a press conference today to announce the introduction of the Providing Resources to End the Vaping Epidemic Now for Teenagers (PREVENT) Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill with Congressman Peter King (R-NY-2) that will create youth vaping prevention programs in schools and provide resources to help teachers and administrators combat skyrocketing youth e-cigarette use.

“With more than five million children now using e-cigarettes, the youth vaping epidemic is out of control. If we don’t take this seriously, we risk the health of an entire generation of American kids. The bill Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and I plan to introduce builds on previous tobacco prevention strategies, helping fund preventive efforts that steer kids away from vaping and helping those already struggling with nicotine addiction,” said Senator Durbin.

“Starting in the 1970s and continuing to today, education and prevention programs proved essential in decreasing youth cigarette use,” said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. “However, today we are faced with a new public health epidemic: youth vaping. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, middle school e-cigarette use rose by 218% between 2017 and 2019, and high school e-cigarette use rose by 135%. To reverse this extremely disturbing trend, the bipartisan and bicameral PREVENT Act will educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use by providing students, parents and school personnel the vital resources they need to prevent e-cigarette use on the ground. Importantly, this legislation requires the e-cigarette companies- not taxpayers or consumers- to foot the bill.”

The PREVENT Act establishes a new user fee under the Food and Drug Administration, and directs those funds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop prevention programs to decrease the use of e-cigarettes on school grounds. The bill awards grants to state and local health agencies and non-profits to carry out such prevention programs, and requires these programs to provide resources to empower youth to communicate with their peers on the dangers of nicotine addiction, provide resources and tools for school personnel to identify and prevent youth use, and launch social media and marketing campaigns to educate students on the health risks of e-cigarette use. Further, the PREVENT Act requires health agencies and non-profits to consult with public health experts, addiction specialists, and school personnel organizations, among others, to carry out such prevention programs at middle and high schools across the country. Finally, the bill requires grantees and the CDC to publish reports identifying best practices so that schools across the country can work in tandem to end youth vaping.

The bill is currently endorsed by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes, Society for Public Health Education, Respiratory Health Association, American College of Preventative Medicine, American Association of Women Dentists, Mariposa County Health and Human Services Agency, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Oncology Nursing Society, American Association of Endodontists, Academy of General Dentistry, Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Eta Sigma Gamma, and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.